Syrian army agrees to three-day holiday cease-fire

The cease-fire was negotiated by UN-Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which honors Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

“If this humble initiative succeeds,” Brahimi told reporters in Cairo on Wednesday after returning from Damascus, “we hope that we can build on it in order to discuss a longer and more effective cease-fire, and this has to be part of a comprehensive political process.”

The conflict in Syria has left more than 30,000 people dead. It has become a factor in the U.S. presidential race, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney accusing President Obama of taking a back seat to the U.N. and calling for more assistance to opposition forces seeking to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Both Romney and Obama, though, have rejected U.S. military intervention.

"I don't want to have our military involved in Syria," Romney said during Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy. "I don't think there is a necessity to put our military in Syria at this stage. I don't anticipate that in the future."

The U.N. Security Council applauded the truce in a statement Wednesday. 

“The members of the Council agreed that an Eid al-Adha ceasefire could be a first step towards a sustainable cessation of all violence,” Council President Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala said “and underscored the need to launch an inclusive Syrian-led political transition leading to a democratic, plural, political system that realizes the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for democracy, equality and justice, regardless of their affiliation, ethnicities or beliefs.”

The truce announcement was marred by a redoubling of government attacks in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma. And an al-Qaeda inspired Islamist group, Jabhat al-Nusra, has already rejected the truce as a “filthy game” according to the Associated Press.